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Why Drawing Without Purpose is an Important Skill for Artists

I watch quite a lot of artist channels on YouTube and one thing that is common to many of them is that each new video sets out with the goal of creating a piece of finished art. Even if the artist is just doing something 'rough' in a sketchbook, by the end of the video that 'rough drawing' will look like a finished artwork ready to be framed and hung on a wall.

In my latest two art videos I unintentionally demonstrated why not sitting down to create a piece of finished art every time is also an important part of any artists practice.



My first video was pretty much me sitting in front of an empty page and starting to draw. I couldn't think of anything I particularly wanted to draw (I was just trying to get content for a video) so I went straight to my 'go to' drawing, a cat. That's how the video came to be about why I draw cats so much and how I got to that point.

In amongst it all I made the point that I didn't think it would be reflective of my art process if every time I made a video I created a finished artwork. Drawing, with no real goal other than to just see what happens, is very much a part of how I create a lot of my art.



By the end of the above video I've completed two full pages of random sketches, one of mostly cats, and one of faces. One of those faces I really liked so, for my next video, I decided to take that face and give it a body. I thought it would make a really good character rig for a future animation (not that I have anything specific in mind).



My point is, when I set out to create my Why I Draw Cats' video, I never planned to draw anything even close to the girl I decided to develop further into a character. All I had in mind was to draw and see if anything came of it. That particular session I met a girl.

Not every drawing session results in an image that inspires me to explore an idea further but, if you don't do this kind of exploratory drawing, and always have a destination drawing in mind, you could miss many new ideas that you wouldn't otherwise see.

Not only that but drawing without any real purpose other than to see what happens is the most effective way I know to overcome the dreaded 'artist block' or 'blank page syndrome'. All the pressure of creating finished art, or creating anything finished at all, is removed.

The next time you're struggling with what to draw, get out your sketchbook and start drawing whatever your 'go to' is to get started, then branch out into other lines, shapes and ideas. Keep working on a drawing until it starts to look like something. If it's not really working, abandon it and start a new drawing with new lines and shapes.

It doesn't matter if nothing comes of this drawing session, the important thing is, just drawing to see what happens. You may discover something new that you wouldn't have tried otherwise.

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